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Balochistan needs India’s support for freedom: Naela Quadri

An independent Balochistan is the only antidote for Pakistan-China anti-India coalition: Quadri

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Credit: TheLineoffreedom.com

A Baloch woman leader and rights activist has accused Pakistan of “genocide” in Balochistan and says India must support the “freedom movement” in the restive province for its own “strategic interests” as an “antidote for the Pakistan-China anti-India coalition”.

Naela Quadri, 50, said she was here to make a “conscience awakening call” to the government and people of India who helped liberate East Pakistan from Islamabad in 1971 to help it become an independent Bangladesh.

“It is not only for us. An independent Balochistan is the only antidote for Pakistan-China anti-India coalition,” Quadri, a Harvard graduate and a champion of Baloch rights, told IANS in an interview.

The Balochistan Independence Movement leader made a passionate plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get involved in the “freedom movement” of the sprawling western region which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

“India has to take a stand, not only against gross human rights violations in the neighbourhood but also because its strategic interests are involved,” said Quadri, who also heads the World Baloch Women’s Forum and campaigns for Baloch people’s rights worldwide. She was once jailed in Pakistan.

Pakistan has been accusing India of stoking trouble in Balochistan, which is the size of France and is rich in gas, gold and copper reserves. It is also home to massive untapped sources of oil and uranium. Angry over Pakistan’s exploitation of the resources and alleged repressive rule, Balochis have so far launched five armed insurgencies since the territory, a princely state under the British, was annexed by Islamabad in 1948.

She accused Pakistan of resorting to “genocide” in Balochistan in response to the “political, democratic and secular” freedom struggle.

“They have killed some 200,000 Balochis in the last decade. The Pakistan Army has participated in enforced disappearance of 25,000 people including men and women,” she said.

“They are using all the eight UN indicators of genocide including dehumanization, polarization, extermination and denial.”

Recalling the May 28, 1998 Pakistan nuclear tests, Quadri said the army “illegally” used Balochistan for testing its atomic weapons that it got from China. “They have hid the weapons in Balochistan.

“The Balochs are facing all this in isolation and loneliness. No country has come to our help. Not India, so far.

“India is not what it was in 1971 (when Bangladesh was liberated). You had a strong headed and brave leader in Indira Gandhi. She was determined and had a tough foreign policy to deal with Pakistan.

“Unfortunately, the case is different now.”

She hoped that Prime Minister Modi would come off “as strong as Gandhi” to help Balochistan win its freedom.

“Modi has a popular mandate and I am sure Indian people would support the Balochistan initiative,” said Quadri, an activist since her childhood. (IANS)

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at sarwar.k@ians.in)

  • Pritam Go Green

    Unlike China or similar countries India never refuses to help other nations . We possess a great heart for needy people.

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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp selects 20 teams to curb fake news globally, including India. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)